7 Direct Marketing Tactics to Lower Print Campaign Costs

Direct mail is an effective way to drive existing customers online and acquire new customers. As part of an overall strategic plan, direct mail campaigns delivers high ROI, especially when brands take the time to segment their customer file, run hold-out tests to develop catalog sales attribution rates, and analyze performance.

Brands that are new to direct mail often inadvertently spend more on direct mail campaign costs, or waste marketing dollars, because they don’t realize that catalog specs, back cover design, and list hygiene are all factors that contribute to print costs.

The following direct marketing tactics can help you manage your direct mail campaign costs:

1 — The height and width of your catalog, the location of the address block, and the weight of your direct mail piece, all impact the amount of postage that you pay. Make sure you send a mock-up to your printer in advance of the mailing to get advice on what changes might need to be made to save on postage.

2 — Request quotes for multiple page count options and ask your printer to include a postage estimate too. Adding pages to a catalog sometimes increases postage, but there are many situations where it does not increase postage. And there are also instances where adding 4 pages to a catalog does not cause your print quote to increase. Work with your printer to understand where their efficiencies lie.

3 — From a cost per piece perspective, it is always cheaper to increase the size of your print run. Small print jobs can be very expensive because of the job set-up fees that are built into the quote. Some brands print two or more catalogs at the same time and swap out the covers. This helps reduce print costs.

4 — Before you create a mailing list, make sure you run address hygiene such as CASS and NCOA. List hygiene removes invalid records, vacant addresses, closed po boxes, and other non-deliverable mail. List hygiene will also standardize the address (to improve matches) and append zip+4 to earn you better postage rates and savings.

5 — Always run a merge purge on your mailing list, especially if you use multiple lists to create your final mail file. Every brand likes to think they have unique customers in their database but this is not true. I’ve seen duplicates as high as 40% (or more) in some data feeds. Avoid sending multiple catalogs to the same person. It’s wasteful and annoying.

6 — Consider using suppression files such as the Deceased list, especially if you are targeting an older demographic or are running a reactivation campaign.

7 — The USPS often runs marketing mail promotions where you can save 2% on postage. Adding a QR code for mobile shopping or participating in Informed Delivery are examples of ways to save on postage.